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John Taylor Arms
Abbeville; St. Vulfran

1925

About the Item

Etching on cream wove Japon paper, 7 3/8 x 7 3/4 inches (188 x 197 mm), full margins. Signed and dated in pencil, lower margin. In excellent condition with some minor surface soiling on the recto, as well as inscriptions in pencil at the left and right corners, verso. One of 150 impressions, printed by Frederick Reynolds. French Church Series No. 5; Illustrated in Dorothy Noyes Arms, Churches of France, p. 16. Born in 1887 in Washington DC, John Taylor Arms studied at Princeton University, and ultimately earned a degree in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1912. With the outbreak of W.W.I, Arms served as an officer in the United States Navy, and it was during this time that he turned his focus to printmaking, having published his first etching in 1919. His first subjects were the Brooklyn Bridge, near the Navy Yard, and it was during his wartime travel that Arms created a series of extraordinarily detailed etchings based on gothic cathedrals and churches he visited in France and Italy (the plate for Guardians of the Spire was created in 1921). He used what was available to him, namely sewing needles and a magnifying glass, to create the incredibly rich and fine detail that his etchings are known for. Upon his return to New York after the war, Arms enjoyed a successful career as a graphic artist, created a series of etchings of American cities, and published Handbook of Print Making and Print Makers (Macmillan, 1934). He served as President of the Society of American Graphic Artists, and in 1933, was made a full member of the National Academy of Design. Arms died in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1953.
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